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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
© Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Study for La Toilette

Dessin au crayon
Paris, Musée d'Orsay, France - Inv. RF 5259 folio 2 recto
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-02-26 12:09:44
Référence : MSb-206


Famille de l'artiste - Marc Bazille, frère de l'artiste, Montpellier - Don de Marc Bazille au musée du Louvre, 1921 - Musée d'Orsay [Conservé au département des Arts graphiques du musée du Louvre].


Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, fig. 93, repr. p. 148 et cat. 74, p. 259.


Marandel, Cat. exp. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1978, n° 3, repr. p. 223 - Cat. exp. Montpellier, New York, 1992-1993, fig. 68, p. 121 - Bajou, Frédéric Bazille, 1993, p. 173 (repr.) - Schulman, 1995, folio 2 recto, repr. p. 288 - Hilaire, Jones, Perrin, Cat. exp.  Montpellier, Paris, Washington, 2016-2017, fig. 93, repr. p. 148 et cat. 74, p. 259 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 206.

The only study for La Toilette, this drawing proves that Bazille conceived of and mastered his subject from the start. He proves it first by the choice of the format of the future painting since, to the drawing of the square format, corresponds a square painting as well. But, to better place his characters, Bazille uses here a numbered tiling, a very rare procedure for the artist since he only recurs in his studies for the View of the Village.

Several observations are in order: objects such as the wall hanging, the couch, the bedspread, and the fur rug do not appear in the preparatory drawing. Curiously, it is a stone wall that serves as the background for the subject in the drawing. Did Bazille conceive his theme outdoors? One can assume so, although the presence of the sofa makes one think of an indoor scene.

Only the white woman on the sofa will keep the same position in the painting. It should be noted that the woman on the right who appears in the painting is not in the drawing; Bazille made two very sketchy studies of her on the right side of the sheet.

It should be noted that this drawing depicts La Toilette in the same state of completion as the painting that appears in the painting The Studio on the rue La Condamine of 1870.

It is surprising that this drawing is the only preparatory drawing for such an important work.

Related Works

Oeuvre en rapport
La Toilette - Huile sur toile - 132 x 127 cm - Musée Fabre (MSb-59)